Models as parts of distributed cognitive systems

Recent work on the role of models in science has revealed a great many kinds of models performing many different roles. In this paper I suggest that one can find much unity among all this diversity by thinking of many models as being components of distributed cognitive systems. I begin by distinguishing the relevant notion of a distributed cognitive system and then give examples of different kinds of models that can be thought of as functioning as components of such systems. These include both physical and abstract models. After considering several objections, I conclude by locating distributed cognition within larger movements in contemporary cognitive science.
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